Monday, September 30, 2013

Riddle Moo This Board Game from Learning Resources *Review & Giveaway

Riddle Moo This is a silly riddle word game for children age 5 and up. 

Each player gets a buzzer, each  making a different animal sound. 4 players get to via for points by guessing the riddle on the card. There are three hints  on each card. The reader reads one hint at a time as the children are poised over their buzzer. First to buzz in gets a chance to answer the riddle. If they miss you see if anyone else wants to guess. Then you go through the three hints until someone guesses it. If you guess the riddle correctly you win the card. First player to 10 cards wins.

Getting the buzzers to go in turns was a little tough for my guys. They wanted to jump right in with their answer instead of waiting for the buzzer and being called on. It took a little bit of work but we learned to first press the buzzer and wait to be called on to answer.
This game works best with similar aged children. Mine played with a teen and of course he was able to answer the questions much quicker than the 5 year old. I read the questions for all of them so that they had equal opportunity to answer.

The animal sounds are fun, and the kids tend to play with the buzzers even when the game is long done.

Enter to win Riddle Moo This!
Giveaway Ends Oct 14th
US Only

NOTE: If you have won a Learning Resources giveaway on ANY BLOG during the past 6 months, you are ineligible to win this giveaway! Once 6 months have passed, you can enter again. Thanks!

Check out Learning Resources on Facebook
Twitter @ learninghandson


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Home to Heather Creek Series *Review

When the world around you falls apart, could it be that God is giving you a second chance? This is just one of the questions on Charlotte Stevenson’s mind as she brings her three grandchildren to live on the family farm in Guidepost Books’ Home to Heather Creek series.

Before the Dawn begins just one week after the funeral of Charlotte’s daughter, Denise. Denise’s three children barely have time to process the death of their mother before they must move to the Heather Creek Farm they have never visited with grandparents they barely know. At age 16, Sam is fiercely protective of his younger siblings. Emily is 14 and desperately misses her friends. Young Christopher is only 8 and just wants to fit in. While Charlotte tries to help her grandchildren adjust to their new life, she also wrestles with her own grief and the enormous task of bringing her family together. Bob believes the fastest path to adjustment is a firm routine, with structure and chores, the same way they raised their own kids. However, that route led to Denise running away from home as a teenager and an estranged relationship with her family. Charlotte is worried about making the same mistakes she made with Denise. Is this her chance to make things right?
It is spring when the children arrive, and as Charlotte looks around the farm, she hopes the new life around them will signify hope and healing. The miracle of new life, along with God’s healing touch, reminds all of them that it’s always darkest just before the dawn.

 My Thoughts 

The first book in the series begins right after a tragedy. Charlotte's daughter Denise is killed in a tragic accident and her three children are now in the custody of the grandparents they barely know. Ages 16, 14 and 10 the kids are just going through the motions.  Charlotte and Bob have to help the kids find a routine on the farm, after life in California. Everything they know has been turned upside down. Charlotte and Bob both have a strong faith, and they fear that faith and that need for order is what sent Denise packing in the first place. They struggle to know how best to start raising these children, and to overcome their own grief.

I loved the farm setting. We have raised our own children on a farm for much of their life and it does seem that there an be more healing in doing some of the mundane jobs of a farm, and getting into a different routine than what was know. This was a hard book to not internalize the sadness of the characters. I felt weepy from the beginning for the children and Charlotte. The author did a great job of contrasting the language and activities of the kids versus the grandparents. I haven't read many books where the main character was a grandma, and I enjoyed how I knew she was simply by reading it. Things like offering the kids cookies as soon as they get there!

Sweet September picks up at harvest time, as the children are settling into a new school year. While the harvest should be an exciting time, the children don’t seem to be getting into the spirit. Emily is struggling with farm life, Christopher spends most of his time alone, and Sam is failing school. Trying to learn from what did and didn’t work with her own kids, Charlotte is determined to get her grandchildren back on track.
As tenuous family bonds threaten to break apart, a mystery on the farm might be the one thing that can bond the family together. Charlotte sets out to uncover the truth, and as the kids unite to find answers, this cobbled-together family learns more about one another and the love that binds them together.
The lives of the Stevensons and their grandchildren unfold in this captivating story of the remarkable change that comes from the love of family, the kindness of others, sheer persistence and unshakable faith. As readers follow the Stevensons’ inspiring stories, it’s almost impossible not feel a part of this friendly, loving community, where God’s grace can be seen in every circumstance.

My Thoughts
The second in the series is written by Tricia Goyer. The kids are still trying to adjust as are Charlotte and Bob, but they are definitely moving in the right direction. Bob's health starts going down hill some and Uncle Pete tries to help save the farm by coming up with some new planting and seeds for the next harvest. Bob of course doesn't want to relinquish any of his control to his son Pete. Tricia brings in some history as Bob talks about the Dust Bowl and World War II and the times that people sought refuge at Heather Creek. I enjoyed this story with Bob being more of a focus character and works through his own grief at losing Denise and learning to be a caregiver to his grandchildren.
I loved the farm scene in the novel. The daily chores with the animals, the canning, the large breakfasts. The book really gives you a feeling of 'home' with the great details of the love shared in this old farmhouse.

About the Authors

Kathleen Bauer is the pen name for a team of writers who have come together to create the Home to Heather Creek series.

Before the Dawn was written by Carolyne Aarsen. Originally a city girl, Aarsen moved to the countryside near Neerlandia, Alberta, when she married her husband, Richard. While raising four children, foster children and various animals, she learned how to drive tractors, front-end loaders and ATVs. She grew a garden and learned to can and preserve its produce. Somewhere in all this Aarsen learned to write. Since 1997 she has written more than 40 books. Learn more at

Tricia Goyer is the author of Sweet September. A best-selling author of more than 35 books (both fiction and non-fiction) as well as 500+ magazine articles, she is a two-time Carol Award winner, and a Christy award and ECPA Award Finalist. Tricia is on the blogging team at and She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently heads up a Teen Mops Group in Little Rock, Arkansas. Tricia is the creator of and hosts a weekly radio podcast, Living Inspired. Find out more about Goyer at

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Tea Gallerie *Review & Giveaway

You may have seen in my other posts that I am giving up diet soda, and really I don't have much interest in sugar laden soda. My solution to this dilemma? Tea! Natural, healthier, great tasting tea.

The Tea Gallerie has premium loose leaf teas in;
and a Kids line

 So many to choose from, you can have tea every day and still keep your taste buds guessing.

I was able to review two teas from the Tea Gallerie.

Green tea is usually not the first one I would choose, but when you add in Tangerine it makes it wonderful! This was a very flavorful tea, and I actually brewed it strong and used it as an iced tea and it tasted great. This was a low to medium caffeine which was perfect for me.

The Passionfruit Black was very fruit flavored and again made a fantastic iced blend. As we move into fall I suspect I will be having more hot tea, but the summer months I do prefer the iced.
This tea is a black tea infused with marigolds and passion fruit. I love how this loose leaf tea is so beautiful to look at with the variety of items in it! Sure beats your common tea bags in flavor for sure.
I love that all Tea Gallerie teas are Fair Trade and USDA certified organic. Tea is not supposed to taste bland and boring, not with the huge variety that Tea Gallerie offers.

I would love to try their Flowering Teas, I have yet to try this kind of tea and it looks so interesting!

I also am intrigued by their Kids line of teas. These look fruity and yummy enough to get our kids to stop drinking unhealthy kool aids and sugar laden drinks. Caffeine free.

Enter to win the same teas I reviewed!!
Use the Giveaway Form Below
Ends Oct 20th 
US Only

Be sure to stop by Tea Gallerie to see their fantastic selections. Also check them out on these social media sites
Facebook Tea Gallerie
Twitter @TeaGallerie
Pinterest teagalleriesd

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Amazing Sparkey by Kenneth Ian Segel *Review

Do you have a dog for a pet? Do you think your dog is smart and special? Does your dog do funny or unusual things? This story is about Sparkey who is an amazing, wonder dog. Sparkey, dearly loved by his family, is truly unique. He could do arithmetic - both addition and subtraction. He could sing with his ears flapping in rhythm. He could "talk" entering into family conversations with strange sounds and an occasional bark. He could read. He would bring the daily newspaper into the house, open the paper, place his nose on the print and move his head from line to line. At times, he would laugh out loud as he read. At other times, it sounded as if he was crying when he read something sad. Sparkey enjoyed shopping for groceries in a supermarket. He would paw at those items he wanted the family to take home. He liked sports, particularly swimming. He would jump into the family's backyard pool and speed from one end to the other. Very proud of himself, he would clap his paws in approval of his achievement. Mysterious and strange things were happening in the Kelly home. No one in the family could explain the unusual happenings. It was weird. Was it the work of ghosts? Was it leprechauns? What was really going on? Things disappeared and reappeared. There were no clues. Working together as detectives, and with Sparkey's help, the Kelly family finally solved the mystery. Sparkey proved that he really was a wonder dog.

My Thoughts
Have you seen the show Martha Speaks? This book reminds me of that show with the dog who can do wondrous things. Sparkey can't actually 'talk' but he is able to do a lot of unique things. When the mysterious things start happening I figure it is Sparkey. Though he does help remedy things in the end, I am not sure if it was him or not. This part was a little confusing to me. The Family comes together to solve the crime, which I like this family unity. I  just didn't understand why Sparkey would do these things and need more attention if he is a wonder dog already. And if he didn't do it, then who did? And if it was Sparkey, why was it funny rather than annoying to the family to have all of these things going on. I was confused.
What I did get out of the book was the family pulling together to investigate, that they each took a piece of the puzzle and then they came back as a team and reported.
The illustrations by Amory Abbott were wonderful. I think they really added to the story. The facial expressions on the family were drawn wonderfully.

About the Author
Kenneth Ian Segel is an ordained Rabbi of the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has served major congregations in the United States and Canada. For over 30 years, the author has creatively taught and passionately motivated children. His sincere love and respect for children and special skill in communicating with humor and sensitivity have delighted children's audiences throughout the country. 

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Simple Glow Soy Candle *Review

Simple Glow candles offers soy candles in a variety of wonderful scents! Soy burns so much cleaner than paraffin and much longer. I love these soy candles as they are able to be long lasting and smell wonderful. I reviewed two scents to kick off fall.

These are the 2.5 ounce modern tins. They had long lasting burning and even in this small amount were able to scent the entire living room! Sometimes with candles I can only burn them for a short while till the scent becomes too much. Not with the Simple Glow candles, these were the perfect size to keep on letting it burn.

A super nice, clean burn!

Burn time is approx 15-20 hours. That is just amazing when you see the smallness of this candle. 
Their 16 oz candle has 140-160 hours of burn time. 
Fall is the perfect time to get those candles out for early morning and evening scents. I am not much of a summer time candle burner, but with fall you will smell them burning constantly. 

Check out scents in the

Check out their other candle sizes and products HERE

Simple Glow on Facebook
Simple Glow Blog

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Eventide by Shelley Shepard Gray *Review

Eventide is the riveting conclusion to The Days of Redemption trilogy by Shelley Shepard Gray, celebrated author of tender Christian romance novels set in Amish country.

Honest and faithful Elsie Keim falls for her new neighbor, Landon, but she can’t bear to tell him the truth: She’s going blind.

Landon is enamored with Elsie. When Elsie’s brother Roman steps in and shares the truth of Elsie’s disease, Landon is floored. His job is demanding and takes him away from home, sometimes for days at a time. He wonders how he’d be able to keep up with his responsibilities and take care of Elsie.

In Eventide, three generations of the Keim family come together to make their dreams come true.

Shelley Shepard Gray, bestselling author of the Sisters of the Heart books, draws her Days of Redemption trilogy to a heart-warming finish.

 My Thoughts:
This was the third book in the series and I have not read the first or second. I think I would have enjoyed more of the back story if I had. I will be adding those to my TBR pile!
Shelley Shepard Gray is a new voice to me in the Amish fiction genre. I very much loved how she tackled a severe medical issue kertoconus (leads to blindness), that I had not even heard about before. Often times I find that Amish fiction novels just have mild things that they deal with as the conflict. I know that they deal with much more than we tend to think, the same diseases affect them as they do us. If made the story feel more real with this struggle that they were dealing with.

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Kroger Lunchbox Heroes *Review

Packing those lunches day in and day out has got to be a serious chore at times. Kroger offers some fantastic 'go to' snacks that are here to save the day!

  • Kroger Snack-Size Cheese Flavored Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels are perfect for lunches and on-the-go snacking
  • NEW Kroger Golden Double Filled Vanilla Sandwich Cookies are the latest flavor to join the Kroger Cookie lineup; scrumptious vanilla cookies are double filled with sweet icing
  • Kroger Extreme Fusion Waters have the great fruit taste kids love, but with 25% less sugar and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
  • NEW Kroger Fruit Snacks are made with real fruit and vegetable juices and come in two varieties: Shapes and Stars & Moons
  • Kroger Chewy Granola Bars are available in delicious flavors that meet wholesome granola for a satisfying combination everyone will love

Though I don't have to daily pack lunches with my children being homeschooled, we do go on field trips and have events where I need to pack lunches. Kroger snacks have been fantastic for making it easy to pack things the kids will love and eat! I don't always have time for homemade foods, even with the desire. I so enjoy the quality snacks Kroger offers at fantastic prices!

Extreme fusion waters were a hit for the kids and Mom! With no artificial junk in them, and 25% less sugar, that is a huge plus for me. Much tastier for them than just plain water.

The Double Filled cookies were outstanding! Definitely rivals the name brand with this product. I loved the double chocolate and probably ate too many of them.

The Chewy Granola bars were definitely a go to snack for us. They are so compact, filling and easy to bring with you. They offer a huge variety of flavors, one to suit each in your family

I don't have a photo of the Fruit Snacks. As soon as that box was open, they were gone! I loved, loved that they had real fruit and veggies in them. Not just a sugar filled snack, but actually something nutritious. Can't beat that. We will definitely be stocking up on those.

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Novica Global Marketplace *Review & Giveaway

Novica has revamped their website to bring you even more fantastic products from artisans around the world! Your one shop stop for beautifully unique gifts that promote world unity. Novica  is basically a global marketplace, matching artisans to consumers. They include information on the artist so you can specifically learn more about them as you shop the products. Fair trade goods, with no sweat shops or child labor. Personal products that can decorate your home, person, or bring enjoyment to your family.

Novica commits to  Connect * Empower * Preserve

I have loved browsing the Novica site before, and now it is much easier to maneuver and get around. There are easy categories to look at that narrow down the over 30,000 products available on their site.
Browse categories this holiday season like Gifts for Mom, Unique Home Decor, Y necklaces and Alpaca Ponchos. Start your shopping early this holiday season with beautiful products that support artisans worldwide. 

Here are some unique gifts for under $25. Would you choose one of these or use your Gift Card for something larger?

I received a $25 GC as well and I am trying to decide which of these to choose. I wanted to gift one of the children with something from Novica for Christmas.

Or maybe I should choose a beautiful scarf or bracelet for myself.... So many to choose from. You will absolutey fall in love with this website!

Enter to win a $25 Gift Card from Novica
Ends October 12

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Orange Glad Subscription Box *Review

Gourmet desserts from trending bakeries delivered to your doorstep! This may just be as close to heaven as we can get this side of it! Who wouldn't love having these delicious treats arrive each month with a fantastic price of only $15 a month.

Orange Glad comes with 5 bakery or coffection treats. It was so hard to share! The first and my favorite was Chocolate Sprinkled Crispycakes. This was a super marshmallow treat! So yummy.

Pineapple coconut biscotti was a great treat to go along with a cup of tea. A hard cookie with a tropical flavor.

Popcornopolis had a gourmet popcorn that the kids just delved into! A great treat reminded us of the fair.
Chocolate Cake Bites were very chocolatey with cocoa actually sprinkled on the outside of the cake.

Lemon Frosted Cookies were a hit with everyone in the family. I think this one was the family as a whole's favorite treat in the Orange Glad box.

This subscription box allows you to sample treats from 5 different places, giving you a taste of what they offer. Check out some of the previous boxes HERE

Each box comes with a insert depicting the bakery items, telling you the ingredients and sharing with you the website so you can check out more of your favorite goodies.

I was very pleased with the variety in this box. I thought the price was very reasonable for the gourmet style goodies you received. You can sign up at Orange Glad and unsubscribe at any time. Check out their October Box coming soon!

Facebook Orange Glad Box
Twitter @orangegladbox

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Quinn Popcorn *Review

Prior to reviewing Quinn Popcorn, I didn't even realize the harmful nasty ingredients that were not only in the popcorn, but in the packaging as well! Quinn Popcorn sought out to clean up microwave popcorn and they have certainly done it!
Let's start with the packaging. Firstly they got rid of all of the chemical coatings. Secondly they got rid of the gray metal patch on the bag. What was left is simply paper, pressed to withstand grease. When you first pull it out of the bag and can actually see the kernels inside, makes you wonder if it will work. It is just in a paper bag! I loved seeing exactly what was in the bag!

Quinn Popcorn comes in three components. Firstly you have the popcorn that goes in the microwave. Then you have 2 additional steps after. You have the oil based and the powder depending on which popcorn you are trying.

The ingredients are top of the line. No GMO products, organic popcorn, healthy oils with high Omega 3's. The first kind I tried was the Parmesan Rosemary. Gourmet popcorn right out of your own microwave! This was so wonderful. The sunflower oil helped to hold on the parmesan cheese and just a hint of rosemary grown in Peru and Spain. Outstanding flavor, and so much healthier than other microwave popcorns. The combo of the parmesan and rosemary were outstanding and flavorful.

The next flavor I tried was Lemon and Sea Salt. Now I was a little apprehensive about this one. Lemon on popcorn? I like new things so I went ahead and gave it a whirl. Wonderful! A great balance between the sour of the lemon and the saltiness of the sea salt.
Just make sure when you sprinkle on the lemon that you mix the popcorn very well!

The 3rd flavor I received was Vermont Maple and Sea Salt. Oh this one reminded me of Kettle Corn. Such a nice combo with the sweet and salty. This one will be a familiar fall treat. This was the one that the kids went gaga over!

Check out their other great flavors!
Butter Sea Salt
Hickory Smoked Cheddar
Olive Oil and Herbs
Just Sea Salt

Find Quinn Popcorn on Facebook
Twitter @QuinnPopcorn
Order yours HERE or find a local store location HERE

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